In this book we attempt to define and describe the problems resulting from today's unprecedented rates of human population increase, and to help policymakers understand the implications of these problems. In its entirety the work contains a summary and recommendations (Volume I) and a collection of research papers (Volume II) by scholars representing several disciplines-economics, political science, sociology, demography, education, social ethics, and public health. We hope that our conclusions will appeal to a wide audience, but we realize that many potential readers, especially busy and preoccupied government officials, are unlikely to have the time to study the more technical research papers upon which the policy recommendations are based. We have therefore decided that publication should take two forms: a cloth-bound edition containing both sections of the study, and a low-priced paperback edition of Volume I, the summary and recommendations. The paperback edition of Volume I is a self-contained unit and can be read as such; however, for the interested reader, references are made in the footnotes to the more detailed discussions in Volume II.
Early in 1967 the directors of seven U.S. centers for the study of population agreed that not enough is known about the economic and social effects of rapid population growth. This lack of knowledge has not, however, hindered the development of population policies and programs in a number of countries around the world. Some governments, seeing the specters of famine or of vast armies of unemployed, have moved forthrightly to help their people limit their own fertility. Other national administrations have stalwartly defended the need for more people to fill their empty lands or to provide the human engine for their march toward "national destiny."
Study and research about the physiology and chemistry of the human reproductive system proceed apace. Comparable research on the social and economic, political, and educational consequences of high and sometimes rising birth rates, falling mortality, differing age patterns in changing societies, and what a policymaker can do about these phenomena, has lagged sorely behind the research on demographic and contraceptive aspects of the problems. The center directors asked why this is so and whether something could